This report makes the case for introducing some form of external oversight of UKSF, and examines allied experiences of legislative scrutiny. It then outlines two different models of parliamentary committee oversight that might be appropriate policy options for the UK:
Option 1: Introduce legislative scrutiny of UKSF by expanding the mandate of the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC).
Option 2: Reform the House of Commons Defence Committee (HCDC) by providing it with the appropriate permissions to scrutinise UKSF.
Additional recommendation: Relax the “no comment” policy on UKSF to allow ministers to release unclassified briefings and budgetary information as deemed appropriate.
About the authors
Liam Walpole is the Senior Advocacy Officer at ORG’s Remote Warfare Programme. He leads the team’s engagement with Parliament, political parties, and policy-makers. His policy interests include: the changing role of Britain’s special forces; the link between transparency, accountability, and effective policy-making; and the long-term implications of Britain’s contemporary military engagements.
Megan Karlshoej-Pedersen is a Research and Policy Intern at ORG’s Remote Warfare Programme. She supports the team’s research on changes in military engagement, as well as their work with Parliament and policy-makers. Her research interests include international security, armed groups, and sub-national conflict analysis.